Albino Ball Pythons are one of the most common pet reptiles available thanks to their manageable size, simple husbandry requirements, and peaceful demeanor.
They make the perfect first-time snake for a new reptile owner, with a few caveats.
Just like any pet, especially exotic pets, caring for an Albino Ball Python requires commitment, time, and money.
If you’re determined to find out how to provide your Albino Ball Python with its own African oasis and the care it needs to thrive, keep reading to see what you have to do to keep your little snake happy and healthy for many years to come.
In This Article
Albino Ball Python Species Summary
Ball Pythons are a small or medium-sized python native to African grasslands and open forests, where they spend most of their lives living in or looking for termite mounds and mammal-made burrows.
In these caves, they will hide out and wait for prey to come to them.
Ball Pythons are specialist rodent eaters that also occasionally consume small nesting birds.
Once the prey is lured into the Ball Python’s trap, they stick around while digesting their meal, enjoying the humidity and cool relief that dens provide from the brutal African climate.
Albino is a genetic mutation, or morph, of normal wild Ball Pythons.
Bob Clark bred the first captive-bred Albino Ball Pythons in 1992, and they sold for $7,500 each. They were produced from the offspring of an Albino Ball Python male that was imported in 1989.
The scientific term for ‘Albino’ is also known as Amelanistic because Albino animals lack melanin (black coloring). You might also hear Albino Ball Pythons referred to as Amelanistic Ball Pythons or Amel Ball Pythons.
To further complicate the matter, there are two distinguished types of albinism in Ball Pythons: ‘T+’ or tyrosinase-positive and ‘T-’ or tyrosinase-negative. T- animals have red eyes and tongues, while T+ animals have dark-colored eyes and tongues.
Appearance & Colors
Similar to Blue Eyed Lucy’s, Albino Ball Pythons lack the black and brown pigments of normal, wild-type Ball Pythons entirely.
They’re typically paper-white with bright gold markings.
Some selectively-bred strains even have some purple hues.
Beyond their color difference, Albino Ball Pythons look the same as other Ball Pythons regarding body shape and skin pattern. They have small heads, thick rounded bodies, and a row of heat pits along the top of their upper lips.
However, the Albino morph can be combined with other pattern morphs to create exciting and interesting combinations, such as:
Albino Ball Python Size
Albino Ball Pythons grow to be 3 to 5 feet in length and weigh 1.5 to 7 pounds.
Females are typically a few inches longer and a few ounces heavier than males, but the difference is so minute that it’s not a reliable way to distinguish their sex.
Hatchling Albino Ball Pythons are only 10 to 16 inches long and weigh 45 to 80 grams.
Albino Ball Pythons reach their adult size in 3 to 5 years.
Albino Ball Pythons are believed to have an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years.
Some Ball Python owners report their snake has lived for over 35 years!
Either way, you can rest assured that if you take good care of him or her, your scaly companion will be with you for many years to come.
Albino Ball Python Care
Reptiles are sensitive to the lighting, temperature, and humidity of their environment.
They are ectothermic, so they’re unable to create their own body heat.
Albino Ball Pythons evolved to live in Africa’s tropical climates, and they won’t survive very long living in a room without heat or additional humidity.
There are many other small peculiarities of snake ownership that are important to grasp before taking on the responsibility of owning an Albino Ball Python.
Enclosure Size & Dimensions
Minimum Adult Enclosure Size: 48” x 12” x 24”
Although primarily terrestrial, Albino Ball Pythons are also semi-arboreal, so you’ll want to provide them with plenty of floor space and height.
We’ve listed the minimum acceptable enclosure size; it’s always better to provide a larger habitat if you have the space and funds available.
Hatchling and juvenile animals can, of course, be housed in smaller enclosures for convenience purposes.
Generally speaking, try to accommodate any snake (including hatchling Albino Ball Pythons) in an enclosure that allows them to stretch their body without any bends, kinks, or curves.
Before you start setting up the habitat, you should add your substrate of choice.
Some popular substrate options are:
- DIY Topsoil Mixture
- Coconut Coir
- Coconut Husk
- Cypress Mulch
- Paper Towel or Newspaper
Bioactive set-ups will require a substrate depth of 4-6”, while you can get by with only 2-3” of substrate if you’re just trying to keep things tidy and allow your Albino Ball Python to burrow and explore.
Once you’ve settled the substrate matter, the real fun begins: decorating the terrarium.
Always give your Albino Ball Python at least two hides: one on the warm side and one on the cool side.
Your Ball Python should fit snugly inside the hide without much empty space leftover. The tighter the squeeze, as long as the snake still ‘fits,’ the safer it will feel.
A third hide may be set up with damp sphagnum moss inside of it. Snakes enjoy extra humidity every now and again, especially when they’re shedding.
To fill the space between the hides, you can use pieces of bark, rocks, paper tubes, leaf litter, or live or fake plants.
Of course, don’t forget the vertical space!
Providing a tall enclosure is worthless if you don’t fill it with ample climbing opportunities.
Experiment with propping or tying branches and logs facing varying directions and at varying angles.
Some keepers have also used hemp rope and truck cargo nets to provide even more climbing opportunities.
Temperature & Lighting
|Temperature & Lighting Summary|
|Basking Spot Temperature:||90-94°F|
|Warm Side Ambient Temperature:||84°F-89°F|
|Cool Side Ambient Temperature:||72°F-80°F|
|Night-time Ambient Drop (optional):||72°F-75°F|
As we discussed previously, these ectotherms require tropical conditions to thrive.
Since they’re unable to control their own body temperature, you’ll need to provide your Albino Ball Python with an area to heat up and a space to cool off.
This is easily accomplished by setting up a thermal gradient.
Depending on how well insulated the enclosure is, you may only need to install heating on one side of the habitat.
The temperature will gradually drop towards the opposite end of the terrarium. Don’t ever allow the temperature on the cool side of the enclosure to dip below 72°F.
The best overhead heaters for providing heat that mimics what your Albino Ball Python would experience in nature are:
- Radiant heat panels
- Ceramic heat emitters
- Carbon filament
- Heat projectors
- Incandescent light bulbs
Belly heat, including heat tape, heating pads, and heat cable, are adequate for use as a primary heat source in a well-insulated enclosure but are better suited as background heat or supplemental ‘cool side’ heat in an aquarium.
Think about it: In the wild, heat comes from the sky… Not the ground!
When it comes to lighting, room lighting, or natural sunlight from windows is usually sufficient.
While some light exposure is essential for establishing your snake’s day and night cycle, we strongly suggest that you do thorough research before installing any lighting in your Albino Ball Python’s habitat, especially UV lighting.
Albino animals, including Albino Ball Pythons, are believed to be more sensitive to light and UV.
Your Albino Ball Python should experience darkness for at least 8-10 hours every day.
Ideal Humidity: 45-75%
Plastic PVC enclosures really shine when it comes to holding moisture and maintaining humidity levels.
Screen-topped glass enclosures allow moisture to evaporate too quickly, and even sealed wooden habitats absorb water to some degree.
Here are some other tips for maintaining tropical humidity levels in your Albino Ball Python’s enclosure:
- Keep a large water dish near the heat source.
- Use a moisture-friendly substrate, and maintain a depth of 4-5”. When the top layer dries out, mix up the substrate.
- Spray down the enclosure as needed.
- Add water to the substrate as needed.
- Cover up some of the ventilation without overly compromising fresh airflow.
- Install a mister or fogger if needed.
Offer your Albino Ball Python a water dish that’s large enough and deep enough for your pet to submerge itself and soak.
Some Ball Pythons appreciate an occasional dip or swim.
Replace the water every 1 to 3 days and wash the water dish at least once a week.
Always clean the dish immediately if your Albino Ball Python defecates in the water.
Installing a waterfall feature or sponge filter may entice your Albino Ball Python to drink more water and increase the humidity level in the enclosure.
Food & Diet
Albino Ball Pythons in captivity thrive on a diet of frozen and thawed rodents.
It’s important to note that feeding live rodents poses a severe risk to your snake.
Rats are capable of inflicting deep bites and scratches in the blink of an eye. Many pet snakes have lost their lives after a live rat was left in their enclosure overnight.
Frozen rats are cheaper and more convenient than weekly trips to the pet store. They also experience a more humane death with less fear and pain.
You should generally feed your snake a prey item that is roughly as thick as the widest part of your snake’s body.
Here are some general guidelines, but adjust as needed based on your snake’s body weight and activity level.
|Snake Weight & Prey Size:|
|<200 Grams:||Rat Fuzzy|
|200-350 Grams:||Rat Pup|
|350-500 Grams:||Weaned Rat|
|500-1,000 Grams:||Small Rat|
|1,000+ Grams:||Medium Rat|
|Snake Weight & Feeding Frequency:|
|40-350 Grams:||Every 5-7 days|
|350-500 Grams:||Every 7-10 Days|
|500-1,000+ Grams:||Every 14-21 Days|
Like we humans should eat a varied diet to ensure all of our dietary needs are met, offering your Albino Ball Python, a variety of prey items may help fill in any micronutrient gaps between food species.
Some other prey ideas include:
- Young rabbits
- Young guinea pigs
- African soft-furred rats
- Young chickens
Potential Health Issues
Ball Pythons are prone to the same health issues that other tropical snake species are prone to, including:
- Respiratory infections
- Scale rot
- Mouth rot
- Reptile mites
- Arenavirus or IBD
If you notice any of the following signs or behaviors in your Albino Ball Python, take your pet to an experienced reptile veterinarian ASAP:
- Anorexia or not eating accompanied by significant weight loss
- Frequent, ongoing food regurgitation
- Worms in feces
- Stuck or tattered sheds despite adequate humidity levels
- Excessive soaking in the water dish
- Tiny bugs running around on your snake’s skin or embedded between scales near the mouth and eyes
- Crackling or popping sounds when your snake is breathing
- Brown discoloration on the belly scales or around the mouth
- Excessive saliva production, drooling, bubbling from nostrils
- Weakness and lack of response
- Corkscrewing, star gazing, loss of coordination
Behavior & Temperament
Albino Ball Pythons make perfect pets because of their calm and pleasant demeanor.
Most of the time, when they’re afraid, Ball Pythons would much rather curl into a protective ball to hide than bite!
Overall, these snakes are relatively inactive. Many owners find they love to happily chill on their lap or curled up on their arm while watching TV.
They’re a crepuscular species, meaning you’re more likely to find them out and exploring their habitat around dawn or dusk.
When handling your Albino Ball Python, allow it to move freely between your hands.
Support as much of its body as you can manage, using your hands and your arms. Shoulders also make excellent perches.
During handling, your goal is to support your snake, not restrain it. Aim to mimic a tree in its native jungle environment.
Squeezing or otherwise restraining any snake causes them to become fearful and reactive.
Do Albino Ball Pythons Make Good Pets? A Summary
If you don’t have much experience with snakes, but you’ve always dreamed of owning a slithery serpent, the Albino Ball Python may be the perfect match for you.
Now that you’ve done your homework, the real work begins!
We hope that this guide has helped you to feel confident and excited to create a miniature jungle paradise in your home and provide the best care for your very own Albino Ball Python.
If you’re interested in more on pythons, read our blood python care sheet!